You never know which intermediary will bring you guidance. I arrived back from work at quarter to seven this evening, parking up carefully because we’ve had a scattering of snow that has since turned to ice. Closing the front door behind me, I headed straight for the kitchen to turn the boiler up and put my dinner in the oven. Then I hurried upstairs to put the computer on so I would be online if my beloved signed on to MSN; I said I’d login at 9.00pm their time.
Yet I had not even removed my coat when there was a knock at the door. I knew it was my next-door neighbour, for I had heard his side gate swing back into its latch on his way. As I came down the stairs I saw him standing in the icy air with a large pink Quality Streets tin in his hands. ‘Hello,’ he said, as I opened the door, ‘Dorothy baked you a cake…’
Naturally I was taken aback when he handed me the tin. What was this in aid of, I wondered, and I wondered even more when he told me it was to mark the special day tomorrow. I wracked my brains in case I had forgotten an anniversary or something. But there was a small blue note fixed to the lid. ‘Happy New Year,’ it read.
And so it was that I learnt from my Christian neighbours that it is the first of Muharram tomorrow. I was rather apologetic that I did not know, but I accepted the cake anyway. And then, when my neighbour had gone back on his way, I learned that in the first ten days of Muharram we should strive to draw near to our Lord, that, perhaps, on the tenth day He may forgive us all our sins.
What more could a person want? Guidance and a cake!